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Moredun announces novel louping ill project
Louping ill is a serous tick-borne virus of sheep and red grouse.
Scientists to develop new vaccine with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

The Moredun Research Institute and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) have joined forces in a bid to combat the growing issue of looping ill, a serious tick-borne virus of sheep and red grouse.

In the 1930s, Moredun developed an effective louping ill vaccine, but it was recently withdrawn from manufacture. The vaccine had been hailed as a game changer for sheep farmers and grouse moor managers alike.

Recently, tick populations have been growing and been expanding their reach into areas where they previously had not been an issue. With this came a rise in tick-borne illnesses and, in the absence of a louping ill vaccine, serious losses in both sheep and red grouse.

“We have had many reports from our hill farming members that they have been losing sheep, mainly ewe hoggs to louping ill, some losing up to 25 per cent of their replacement females which is a serious loss,” explained Dr Beth Wells from the Moredun Research Institute.

“We already have successful partnerships with GWCT and are delighted they have joined us in a new project to work towards a novel vaccine for louping ill control.”

Scientists have identified potential candidates for a new generation louping ill vaccine. These will require further research to ensure they cause an immune response in sheep and protect animals against louping ill.

“This important work will be vital in the fight against LIV, and GWCT is pleased to have been able to help in raising the funds for the Moredun’s work as a separate initiative to our core fundraising activity,” said Dr Adam Smith of the GWCT.

Moredun chair Ian Duncan Miller added: “This research illustrates the benefits of working in partnership and we are very pleased to be working alongside GWCT with this project, which is of extreme importance to both of our industries. This project takes Moredun back to its roots in tackling a really serious disease in the hills and uplands.”

Researchers said the project is due to start later this year and, if successful, will be pushed towards commercialisation ‘as soon a possible’.

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Government to run free webinars on exporting horses

News Story 1
 The UK government has announced that it will be running two free webinars for horse owners and exporters, explaining what steps to take to export horses from 1 January 2021.

The first webinar will take place on Tuesday 20 October 2020, from 9.30am to 11am. It will cover Export Health Certificate (EHC) requirements from 1 January 2021. Click here to register.

The second webinar will take place on Wednesday 4 November 2020, from 10.30am to 12pm. This session will focus on the steps that businesses need to take to export equines from the UK to the EU. Click here to register.

For more information on exporting horses and ponies after 1 January 2021, please visit the gov.uk website. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.